Yesterday, I fixed my roommate’s computer:
Pretty sweet, right? It’s only a temporary fix, of course, but she was pretty excited to be able to use her own computer for her final papers. I told her I was excited that I had gotten to fix something, because fixing things means A) I get to solve a problem B) I get to experiment with ideas and C) I get to feel good about my abilities when I finish. She laughed at me for saying “feel good about my abilities” instead of “feel good about myself.” I explained (although she kind of already knew) that for me, really for NTs in general, abilities = identity.
This is a good motivator for success. NTs include Socrates, Einstein, Nietzsche, Marie Curie, C.S. Lewis, Ayn Rand, and Thomas Jefferson. Successful people, right? I wonder how many of them were plagued with the fear of impending failure. I would bet money on every single one of them, although Lewis knew one thing that I know: my abilities are not my identity.
On my own abilities, I could become very successful, but I would never satisfy myself. I would always be disappointed in myself. I would consider myself a failure if I was not the absolute best. I don’t have to live in that fear, though. My abilities and failures don’t matter in the light of Christ’s victory. In my own life, I have experienced the freedom that comes from surrendering my constant quest for greatness to the Greatest of all. In Him, I have found my identity and my purpose. God even uses my weaknesses and failures in uncomfortable and life-changing ways.
Even though I fixed Mary Beth’s computer, tomorrow I may do poorly on a test, or I may look stupid in front of people I respect. The beautiful thing is, that doesn’t have to eat me up anymore. I don’t have to live and die on my performance, because I have died and live in Christ.